Researchers for the advocacy group, which have been lobbying to block drilling in the Arctic this summer, went down about 150 feet in a submarine this week to take samples. During the dives, they found significant concentrations of the soft coral Gersemia rubiformis , which is commonly known as sea raspberry.
Shell is awaiting final permits to begin drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas and has predicted it could start as early as next week.
In its scientific report on the Chukchi’s benthic, or seafloor, environment, Shell identified corals as occupying less than 4 percent of the habitat.
But Greenpeace marine biologist John Hocevar described the corals as the “third most abundant” species he sampled, after two types of sea stars. He conducted the mission in a leased area about 10 miles from one of the company’s vessels.